More Ann Coulter Plagiarism (Updated):
(Relatively profanity-free for tender ears.)
The Rude Pundit has been investigating Ann Coulter's new "book" Godless for potential plagiarism, having discovered at least one rather textbook example and one suspicious simlarity in the first chapter. But, still and all, it didn't amount to much unless more parts of the book were shown to be plagiarized. So here ya go.
The Rude Pundit and Ron Brynaert of Raw Story are offering more examples of Coulter's loose belief in giving credit where credit is due if that credit is not hers. Brynaert's work will appear at Raw Story.
The following is from Coulter's chapter on the Willie Horton furlough case from the 1988 election campaign, following Coulter's belief that one should continue to fight battles that are decades old:
From page 66 of Godless: "Other murderers furloughed by Dukakis included Donald Robertson and Bradford Boyd. Robertson raped a ninety-three-year-old woman and her seventy-two-year-old daughter and then stamped on their chests so hard that he crushed their internal organs."
From an October 27, 1988 press conference with Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes and Cliff Barnes, who was nearly murdered by the furloughed Willie Horton, Barnes said: "Donald Robertson raped a 93-year-old woman and her 72-year-old daughter. Okay? After he raped them, he kicked them and beat them so bad, he crushed their chests and the internal organs in their chests."
Awfully damn similar, no? This next part is not direct plagiarism, but it's important nonetheless.
On page 66-67, Coulter finishes what she says about Robertson with this: "Despite being sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Robertson was released under Michael Dukakis's furlough program after only eight years in prison."
Barnes, in 1988, said: Robertson's "sentence was overturned to two life terms to serve consecutively, without the possibility of parole. Eight years later, he escaped on a weekend pass."
On page 67, Coulter continues: "Bradford Boyd was serving time for rape when he committed first-degree murder in prison. Still, he was furloughed. While out on furlough, he viciously beat a man, repeatedly raped a woman, and then killed himself."
Barnes, in the press conference continued: "Bradford Boyd was a convicted rapist and went to prison in Massachusetts. While in prison, in a controlled environment, behind locked doors with armed guards, committed first-degree murder in prison and that didn't preclude him from getting weekend passes. He went out, kidnapped -- he beat his sponsor and tied him up, with a gun -- beat him with a gun and tied him up, kidnapped a lady guest of the house, drug her off to some orphanage, and repeatedly raped her, and his final testimonial to suitability for the furlough program, blew his own brains out right beside her."
Now, here's the thing: Not only does Coulter blatantly cut and paste the first part, she also presents the exact same information in the exact same order as Barnes did back in 1988, including many directly quoted phrases, without citing anywhere the source for the information. As if it just appeared out of thin air. No footnotes. No mention in the text.
How do we know that Coulter took the information from that press conference, led by Alan Keyes' campaign manager William Kristol? Because there's only place between Google and Nexis that has the names "Bradford Boyd" and "Charles Robertson" in the same place: the Keyes press conference transcript.
Oh, and there's this: Coulter quotes Alan Keyes from the press conference. On page 71, citation-less, Coulter writes, "As Alan Keyes said, when Democrats 'look at Willie Horton they see a black man. When I look at him, I see a rapist and a murderer.'" The only place, again, in Google or Nexis that the quote appears is that press conference transcript. So Coulter had to have used the Alan Keyes press conference. And its mention is simply absent from Godless.
It would have been simple for Coulter to avoid even seeming like she plagiarized: a couple of quotation marks, one of those footnotes she's always bragging about. But she didn't. And she's either trying to steal so she can look smarter than she actually is or her work (and the work of her editors) is just damned sloppy or she just doesn't give a good goddamn and neither do the majority of her readers and the interviewers who keep inviting her to come on their shows to gurgle madly for a while.
Is Coulter committing plagiarism? Well, according to every definition of plagiarism - the use of ideas that are not your own without attribution - it sure seems like it. Hell, let's check out what Coulter's alma mater, Cornell University, says about plagiarism: In addition to direct quotation, it's "where you reproduce part or all of someone else’s idea in your own words (commonly known as paraphrasing), where you use or summarize someone else’s research, where you use facts or data that are not common knowledge, where you reproduce source material in slightly altered form while retaining the main idea or structure. Both direct and indirect citations require proper documentation."
The University of Michigan, where Coulter attended law school, says: "Plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas, words, statements or other works as one's own without proper acknowledgment or citation. Examples of plagiarism are: Copying word for word or lifting phrases or a special term from a source or reference without proper attribution. Paraphrasing: using another person's written words or ideas, albeit in one's own words, as if they were one's own thought. Borrowing facts, statistics, or other illustrative material without proper reference, unless the information is common knowledge, in common public use."
So in any college freshman class, Coulter would be given a failing grade and possibly ejected from the school for her acts. Is there any reason she shouldn't be held to the same standard for her books where she allegedly demonstrates her "expertise" in pulling together information to screech crazily about liberals? And if so much of what she wrote is so easily demonstrated to be plagiarism, why should anyone, of any political stripe, pay attention to the rest of it?
For Gawker and Scoop readers who may be returning here for more info, we can now say we're at Defcon Jacko.
When the story comes up, the Rude Pundit will link to it at Raw Story. Ron Brynaert has more fun examples.
Tomorrow: why all of this matters.
Extra bonus hypocrisy points: despite Coulter's condemnations of the 9/11 widows for getting involved in pushing for the 9/11 commission and endorsing John Kerry, she seems to have no problem with Cliff Barnes exploiting his personal tragedy to change the furlough program in Massachusetts, as well as campaigning with Republicans in 1988. (Barnes did not specifically endorse a candidate, but he did not appear with Democrats.)
Update: The first of several Raw Story articles is up. It spanks Coulter for nearly word-for-word plagiarism, without citation, of a pro-life website. Chances are, this list and its exact wording are not "common knowledge," as so many defenders of Coulter's "research" and "writing" methods wish to assert.